SRINAGAR – In the fourth targeted attack this month, militants shot dead a 36 year-old woman government employee from Jammu inside her school in Kulgam district of Kashmir region on Tuesday, triggering widespread condemnation.
The latest killing has sent the Jammu and Kashmir administration into a tizzy, especially as it is yet to calm down the anger over the killing of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat earlier this month.
The latest attack took place inside a government school in Kulgam. Police said the school teacher, Rajni Bala, a Hindu and a resident of Samba in Jammu, was shot and critically wounded inside the High School at Gopalpora in Kulgam at around 10.35 am.
“In this terror crime incident she received critical gunshot injuries and was evacuated to hospital however, she succumbed to her injuries,” a police spokesman said.
Police said the attackers would be identified soon. “Officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of the terror crime and terrorists involved in this gruesome terror crime will be soon identified and neutralized,” they said.
Soon after the killing, a massive hunt was launched in the district to nab the attackers.
The colleagues of the teacher were seen crying at the hospital. “She was the most gentle lady in our institute,” said a lady teacher.
Officials in Kulgam said Rajni and her husband Raj Kumar were appointed through SC/ST inter district recruitment and were residing in a rented accommodation in the house of a former Member of Parliament in Kulgam Nazir Laway. Kumar is a teacher and is posted at Mirhama Kulgam.
Officials said the slain lady and her husband were neither Kashmir Pandits, nor were recruited under the PM package.
Tuesday’s killing of a woman school teacher sparked instant protests and condemnations from Kashmiri mainstream parties.
A group of Kashmiri Pandits blocked Srinagar Jammu highway at Vessu in Kulgam. The protests were also held at Indra Nagar locality of Srinagar against the killing. The Kashmiri Pandit, who have come under the PM job package and living in colonies, threatened to mass migration if the administration doesn’t take any decision regarding them within 24 hours. A group of employees recruited under SC/ST category also staged protest against the government and demanded relocation from Kashmir.
The killing of Rajni is the fourth targeted attack on civilians this month.
On May 12, a Kashmiri Pandit employee, Rahul Bhat, was shot dead inside his office at Chadoora Budgam.
Five days later on May 17, militants lobbed a grenade at a wine shop in Baramulla in which an employee was killed and three of his colleagues were injured.
A lady artist, Amreen Bhat, was shot dead at her home in Budgam district on May 25.
These attacks have not remained limited to civilians, but three off duty policemen have also been killed in targeted attacks this month.
J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said the assailants will be given an “unforgettable response”.
“Terrorist attack on a school teacher, Rajni Bala is the most reprehensible act. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family. Terrorists and their sympathizers will be given unforgettable response for dastardly attack,” Sinha tweeted.
Condemning the incident, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said despite “fake claims” by the BJP about Kashmir being normal, it is obvious that targeted civilian killings are on the rise.
“Despite GOI’s fake claims about Kashmir being normal, it is obvious that targeted civilian killings are on the rise and a deep cause of concern. Condemn this act of cowardice which sadly plays into the vicious anti-Muslim narrative spun by BJP,” she tweeted.
National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah condemned the attack. “Very sad. This is yet another targeted killing in a long list of recent attacks directed at unarmed civilians. Words of condemnation and condolence ring hollow as do the assurances of the government that they will not rest till situation normalises. May the deceased rest in peace,” he tweeted.
BJP said attacking unarmed civilians that too women is no bravery but an act of frustration and cowardice.
“Strongly condemn yet another dastardly act of terrorism at Kulgam where a female teacher Rajni of Samba was shot dead. Attacking unarmed civilians that too women is no bravery but an act of frustration and cowardice. Police must act fast to punish the attackers,” BJP JK spokesman Altaf Thakur said.
Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Lone termed it a coward act. “Cowardice has yet again plummeted to shameless depths. A teacher – an innocent female hailing from Samba – has been shot dead in Kulgam. May her soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.